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Dairy Free Corn Chowder

May 7, 2014

One of my favorite easy soups is my spicy corn chowder.  It’s creamy and sweet, with just a little bite.  But, of course, it gets the creamy from dairy–cream cheese in particular.  So it was definitely back to the drawing board for how to duplicate or adapt this to be dairy free and still retain the characteristics that I like.  One of the adaptations is to actually use corn stock rather than chicken stock.  This is super simple to make at this time of year when fresh corn on the cob is really cheap at the grocery.  After you eat your corn, just save the cobs in the freezer until you have about 8 or so.  Then toss them in the crock pot and cover with water.  Cook on low for about 8 hours.  You only need a cup or so for this recipe, so freeze the rest.  Be sure to label!  It looks just like chicken stock.  For thickening, I opted to go for a little bit of masa flour (this is the finely ground corn meal used for tortillas).  The next thing I needed to do was sub out the evaporated milk.  My go to creamy choices in non dairy milks are unsweetened almond and coconut milks.  Or, in this particular case, a blend of both by Almond Breeze.  The end result wasn’t exactly like my original spicy corn chowder, but it was a darn tasty alternative.  Better the second day.  Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can creamed corn (no sugar added if you can find it)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn (no sugar added), drained (or 1.5 cups frozen corn kernels)
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and peppers, undrained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 cup chicken or corn stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp masa flour + 1/4 cup stock or water
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • pinch cayenne (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and saute until just softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the corn kernels and saute until it gets just a little bit of color (about 3 minutes).
  4. Add tomatoes and peppers, stock, and creamed corn.  Stir.
  5. Add garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and pepper. Stir well.
  6. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Mix the masa with about a quarter cup of water or stock and stir until smooth.  Add to the pot and simmer for about five minutes or until thickened.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of almond or coconut milk, slowly.

Serve with a slice of dense bread, like sourdough for a light lunch, or add a spinach salad for a full meal. Serves 4.

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